The Civil War of 1459 to 1461 in the Welsh Marches – Part I

The Civil War of 1459 to 1461 in the Welsh Marches – Part I

Hodges, Geoffrey

The Ricardian (1984)


The civil war which brought the house of York to the throne in 1461 included two dramatic events in the middle March of Wales, which for various reasons have been somewhat ignored. The first of these, Ludford Bridge, was a rout, not a battle, because the Yorkists collapsed in the face of a vastly superior royal army, a catastrophe from which Richard, Duke of York, never really recovered. The second, Mortimer’s Cross, which will be dealt with in a later article, was ‘an obstinate, bloody and decisive battle’, in the words of the monument at Kingsland; it was a victory for York’s heir, Edward, Earl of March, without which Edward would hardly have attained the throne.

The political fortunes of Richard Plantagenet declined steadily during the 1450s. His first armed attempt to secure redress for his grievances, at Dartford in 1452, ended in humiliation because he had fatally over estimated his support among the peerage. The mental collapse of Henry VI in 1453 gave York his first brief protectorate, but then Queen Margaret produced an heir, Henry recovered his reason, and the Duke of Somerset, released from the Tower, resumed his control of court and government. York’s alliance with the Neville Earls, Salisbury and Warwick, gave him victory at St Albans in 1455, and the satisfaction of killing Somerset; but the ensuing Yorkist regime was short-lived. the court party was greatly strengthened by the accession of the vengeful heirs of Somerset, Northumberland and Clifford, the other magnates killed at St Albans.

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